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Newest Books

New! Defending Your Castle

A man’s home is his castle, or so the saying goes, but could it withstand an attack by Attila and the Huns, Ragnar and the Vikings, Alexander and the Greeks, Genghis Khan and the Mongols, or Tamerlane and the Tartars? Backyard Ballistics author William Gurstelle poses this fascinating question to modern-day garage warriors and shows them how to build an arsenal of ancient artillery and fortifications aimed at withstanding these invading hordes. Each chapter introduces a new bad actor in the history of warfare, details his conquests, and features weapons and fortifications to defend against him and his minions. Clear step-by-step instructions, diagrams, and photographs provided.

Visit DefendingYourCastle.com for more info

Backyard Ballistics 2ND EDITION

This bestselling guide has been expanded and updated, enabling ordinary folks to construct even more exciting ballistic devices in their garage or basement workshops than ever before. Same clear instructions, diagrams and photographs show how to build all the favorites - the spud gun, the Cincinnati Fire Kite, and the catapult - plus new ones. New projects include the Sublimator, the EM Pipe Gun, and the Powder Keg. Bigger and better than ever!

The Practical Pyromaniac

Combining science, history, and DIY pyrotechnics, this book for the workbench warrior explains humankind’s most useful and paradoxical tool: fire. From Franklin’s stove to Diesel’s engine, explosive and fascinating tales are told of the great pyromaniacs who scientifically revealed the mysteries of fire such as “Gunpowder” Joseph Priestly, who discovered oxygen; Antoine Lavoisier, the father of chemistry; and Humphrey Davy, whose chemical discoveries and fiery inventions saved thousands of lives. By following the directions inside, the curious can replicate these breakthrough scientists’ experiments and inventions from the simply fascinating one-candlepower engine to the nearly magical fire piston and an incredible tornado of fire.

Classic Books

Backyard Ballistics  |   Whoosh Boom Splat  |   BuildingBots
The Art of the Catapult  |   Adventures from the Technology Underground  |   Absinthe and Flamethrowers

Bill's books and experience cover some of the most extreme and interesting technology on earth, but it's technology of a personal, individual sort. From gigantic wood hewn catapults to vegetable firing air cannons; from insanely powerful warrior robots to stratosphere seeking high flying amateur rockets; from ultra high voltage backyard experimentation to just about anything you can imagine, Bill's books and experience take you there.

Backyard Ballistics
This step-by-step guide enables ordinary folks to construct 13 awesome ballistic devices in their garage or basement workshops using inexpensive household or hardware store materials.

Whoosh Boom Splat
In a return to the hands-on, you-can-do-it-too practicality of Backyard Ballistics, William Gurstelle puts the technophile spotlight on the homemade machines that garage warriors dream of quitting their jobs to build. Must reading for tinkerers (and would-be tinkerers) everywhere.

Building Bots
This is the definitive guide to designing and building warrior robots like those seen on BattleBots, Robotica, and Robot Wars.

The Art of the Catapult
Whether playing at defending their own castle or simply chucking pumpkins over a fence, wannabe marauders and tinkerers will become fast acquainted with Ludgar, the War Wolf, Ill Neighbor, Cabulus, and the Wild Donkey-ancient artillery devices known commonly as catapults.

Adventures from the Technology Underground Slide Show

Adventures from the Technology Underground
From the Burning Man festival in Nevada's high desert to the latest gathering of Large Dangerous Rocket Ship builders to Delaware's annual Punkin Chunkin competition (a celebration of "science, radical self-expression, and beer"), you'll meet the inspired, government-unregulated, and corporately unfettered men and women who operate at the furthest fringes of science, engineering, and wild-eyed arc welding, building the catapults, ultra-high-voltage electrical devices, incendiary artworks, fighting robots, and other machines that demonstrate what's possible when physics meets human ingenuity.

You can buy William Gurstelle's books at amazon.com.